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N. Korea's vice defense minister blames hostile policies by S. Korea, U.S. for exacerbating tensions Updated: 2019-10-23 10:01:16 KST

North Korea's vice defense minister Kim Hyong-ryong has been speaking out about the working-level Pyeongyang-Washington nuclear talks that were recently broken off in Sweden.
Speaking at the 9th Xiangshan Forum in Beijing this week, he blamed Washington's hostile policies for exacerbating tensions.
Kim also pointed out that South Korea's purchase of dozens of F-35A fighter jets from the U.S. and the Seoul-Washington joint drills are negatively affecting inter-Korean ties.
He also said North Korea's efforts to build lasting peace were in vain due to such actions.

"Pursuing malicious intentions for gaining military supremacy over a dialogue partner completely contradicts the co-spirit of the DPRK-US joint statement and the North-South declarations, in which they promised before the international society to suspend in comprehensive ways all kinds of hostilities causing military tension and conflicts."

Despite the pessimistic tone, pundits say the regime intends to leverage such criticism to resume the stalled talks.

"North Korea will come back to the negotiating table when President Trump promises to cease South Korea-U.S. joint military drills. That would be the minimum condition to resume talks."

The North continues to pressure Seoul and Washington, stressing it will further push towards "self-reliance."
For South Korea, however, it's not easy to halt weapon procurement nor the joint military drills as it needs to consider its alliance with Washington as well as the military capabilities of its neighbors like China and Japan.
Therefore, it remains to be seen what new strategies can be taken by the two Koreas and U.S. to find a breakthrough in the stalled denuclearization talks.
Kim Hyo-sun, Arirang News.
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